pH-Responsive PDMS‑<i>b</i>‑PDMAEMA Micelles for Intracellular Anticancer Drug Delivery

A series of poly­(dimethysiloxane)-<i>b</i>-poly­(2-(dimethylamino)­ethyl methacrylate) (PDMS-<i>b</i>-PDMAEMA) block copolymers were synthesized with atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). In aqueous solution the polymers self-assembled into micelles with diameters between 80 and 300 nm, with the ability to encapsulate DOX. The polymer with the shortest PDMAEMA block (5 units) displayed excellent cell viability, while micelles containing longer PDMAEMA block lengths (13 and 22 units) led to increased cytotoxicity. The carriers released DOX in response to a decrease in pH from 7.4 to 5.5. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) revealed that nanoparticles were taken up by endocytosis into acidic cell compartments. Furthermore, DOX-loaded nanocarriers exhibited intracellular pH-response as changes in cell morphology and drug release were observed within 24 h.